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Community Activists Raise Alarm Over Proposed OC Homeless Shelter

SANTA ANA ( — A coalition of community groups in Santa Ana Tuesday were set to voice their opposition to a planned homeless center in their neighborhood.

The 23,000-square-foot shelter located at an industrial site at 1217 Normandy Place would be the first one built by Orange County as part of Orange County's "Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness", which aims to end homelessness countywide by 2020.

But activist Irma Jarengui told KNX 1070's Mike Landa she and other opponents of the shelter aren't opposed to the services it offers, but rather its proximity to schools.

Community Activists Raise Alarm Over Proposed OC Homeless Shelter

According to Jarengui, the 200-bed year-round facility near the intersection of Grand and McFadden is a primarily industrial area with big trucks and a lot of traffic that is not appropriate for the homeless.

The shelter would also be within a half-mile radius of six local schools - Century High School, Lathrop Intermediate School and four elementary schools - and near railroad tracks and an apartment complex.

"For stakeholders, it's of the densest and struggling areas, and then the homes need care and space," she said.

The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in July to move forward with the $3.6 million purchase of the facility, according to The Orange County Register.

Jarengui said community leaders are still miffed that the Board failed to consult members of the community before proceeding with the purchase.

"The community has to have a hand in helping to address homelessness and whether it fits the community's circumstances," she said. "Rushing headlong into projects like this will damage the public sector's credibility and it's gonna weaken the relationships."

County officials have up to 90 days to review whether the property meets certain criteria. A final vote is expected sometime in mid-October, according to The Register.

The group Community United For Environmental Justice will hold a community forum on the shelter plans at 6:30 pm tonight at Kennedy Elementary School at 1300 E. McFadden Avenue.

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